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Interviewed in September of 2015, owner/president of Crefisa and Faculdade das Américas Leila Pereira refuted rumours she held intentions to become president of Palmeiras. “I cannot run for president now. I only recently became a member of the club and the statues say a person needs to have completed two mandates in the Deliberative Council [before being eligible for presidency]”, she told a reporter of Diário de São Paulo. Mrs Pereira knew she was looking at, at least, 16 years to fulfil any aspirations of the sort: eight years of club membership before eligible for the Deliberative Council, then two turns there, each mandate spanning four years.

No small surprise then when Mustafá Contursi, one of the club’s most senior oligarchs, in February of 2016 announced Leila Pereira was not only a club member, but had been so since 1996. Mr Contursi claims having made her an honorary member that year, while he was president of Palmeiras. However, no records of such an act have been found. And even if they were, the statutes does not give the club’s president the mandate to appoint honorary members at will: the procedure is actually fairly complicated, culminating in a decision taken by the plenary of the DC.

However, faced with the explicit threat of a non-renewal of the extremely lucrative sponsorship deal with Crefisa/FAM unless Mrs Pereria was allowed to run for a seat, newly elected Palmeiras president Maurício Galiotte granted Mr Contursi’s request for a revised entry date for Mrs Pereira. In Mr Galiotte’s thinking, the decision to bar Mrs Pereira was not his to make, but should be left to the DC, sometime after the voting (scheduled for early February) but before the newly elected took their seats in March. A few days after Mr Galiotte made his decision public, Palmeiras and Crefisa/FAM renewed their sponsorship agreement, worth an estimated 25% of Palmeiras’ total revenues in 2017-2018.

Why is having a political role at Palmeiras so important for Leila Pereira? Perhaps to please her husband and business partner José Roberto Lamacchia, a hard-core palmeirense (Pereira herself was born in Rio a Vasco supporter). Perhaps she enjoys the power rush. Perhaps it is in all the attention she receives while transiting from a very wealthy but anonymous businesswoman into someone who, in her own words, is recognized on the streets even outside of Brazil. Likely, there is a combination of the above and more; this unknown “more” factor making some of us rather nervous.

leila_mustafaIn any case, at the DC elections in February, Mrs Pereira did indeed run for a seat, as one of the candidates under Mustafá Contursi’s ticket. She was elected with a record 248 votes – several times the number she needed – and the extra votes spilled over to Mr Contursi, who thus reinforced his position in the DC with some 6-8 loyal names. In order to understand the impact of this, I quote Marcelo Santa Vicca: “The easiest way to understand how Mustafá Contursi’s head works is recognising he hates football and only cares for the social club”.

Today, 6 March, the Deliberate Council met to determine on the legitimacy of Mrs Pereira’s candidacy. On paper, a rather straightforward matter, one would think: void candidacy and therefore, void election. Nonetheless, she passed the trial like a breeze, only some 45 of the 228 gathered members of the DC opposing her inauguration.

The club´s statute was shredded in the most vulgar way. The immediate effect is the shame felt by many an honourable palmeirense, many of these outside the political sphere of the club. The medium to long-term effects are impossible to predict.

In addition to the above, the DC also elected two gentlemen as president and vice-president of the Council – Seraphim Del Grande and Carlos Faedo – both linked to Mr Contursi.

A moment of hesitation, and Palmeiras’ political landscape just recedes 15 years. Some thought the dragon had been slayed. It was not even sleeping.

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tempo-ruim.
Force Majeure made me miss out on watching what several describe as Palmeiras’ worst performance so far this year. Not a tremendous surprise, that is: after four straight victories, the backlash was rather expected, and what better backdrop than an away game against the bottom team of Chapecoense? Palmeiras lost 2-0, Fábio being the sole reason the score wasn’t stretched further. Gareca, in case you had any doubts: there’s work work work to be done. And players to be signed.

Yesterday morning the squad was supposed to take off for São Paulo, but another Force Majeure came into play as heavy fog rolled in and shut down the airport for 24 hours. Already yesterday, Palmeiras contacted CBF with a request for transfer of Wednesday’s game against Botafogo, claiming there was insufficient time for preparations. Request denied. The squad got on a plane this morning, disembarked in Campinas, then continuing the remaining 500+ kilometres by bus (why, I don’t know: there are flights available Campinas-Presidente Prudente). Don’t expected players in the best of physical shape against Botafogo. If they’ll be motivated? Tomorrow, 19:30 (GMT -3) we’ll find out.

— ooo —

Bruno, the keeper, has asked for a transfer. Unable to regains the confidence of coaches and supporters alike, he feels the only way for him to redeem himself is getting plenty of live action defending another team until the end of the year. Seems the best of solutions for everyone involved. As I’ve stated before: Bruno is a respectable and hard-working professional, on top of a passionate palmeirense. It’s a shame he’s not the brilliant keeper we all would like him to be, but such is life. It’s time to flip the page.

— ooo —

Speaking of change: while the modifications to Palmeiras’ statutes are slowly [sic] cooking, the club’s Deliberative Council (DC) yesterday night voted in three new vitalícios, i.e. members for life. One of the new persons to perpetually integrate the deliberative body is Osório Furlan Júnior, owner of 36% of Valdivia’s economic rights. How that’s even allowed is beyond me. Talk about conflict of interests. The cancer within Palmeiras is alive and well, thank you very much.

And still… Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Today, we’re shooting rapids. Ready?

Palmeiras keeper Deola, on loan to Vitória, is not renewing his contract with the Bahia club; his 2014 whereabouts are unclear but there’s no indication he’ll play for the Verdão coming season.

Fernandinho’s heading back to Oeste, who in turn are returning Diego Souza to Palmeiras. Other likely returns include Patrick Vieira and Mazinho.

Former first, then second keeper Bruno is likely to leave, destination unknown.  So is right-winger Luis Felipe, destined for Benfica unless anything goes wrong in the last minute.

Palmeiras have entered the transfer market in high gear, although little of it is out in the press and nothing’s been formally announced; speculations include midfielder Elano (Grêmio), also midfielder Lucas Lima (Sport/Inter), right-winger Jorge Moreira (Libertad/PAR), also right-winger Stefan Medina (Atlético Nacional/COL), left-winger Uendel (Ponte Preta) and forward Rafael Sóbis (Fluminense). Negotiations seemingly most advanced is with attacking midfielder Bruno César (Al Ahli/SA).

As you will notice, several of the speculations involve foreigners: the CBF are likely to announce a modification to current regulations, raising the allowed number of foreign players on the pitch from three to five.  

Palmeiras are in contact with investment groups and companies in search of partners for signing players.

[Regarding the transfer market, am I optimistic? I want to be, but must admit that the unchanged situation regarding Palmeiras’ master sponsorship and the dragged out procedure that led up to the renovation of Kleina left me worried. Good names must put pen to paper as of next week, when the Brasileirão ends.]

Today Friday, a new round of negotiations takes place between Palmeiras and WTorre aimed at a friendly solution solving the dispute regarding number of seats destined to each of the parties for commercialisation at the Allianz Parque. If bad comes to worse, the case proceeds to the Getúlio Vargas Foundation’s Board of Conciliation and Arbitration.

This week, Palmeiras initiated construction on the new training facilities, partially to stand ready in mid 2014. By early 2015, the facilities will also include a “hotel”, where players and staff will gather before home games. Roughly 80% of the construction costs are paid for by the “Fundo Brahmeiro” (refresh your memory here).

Busto_São_MarcoMarcos recently approved the cast for the bust that will be featured at the Allianz Parque together with the current other three (Junqueira, Waldemar Fiúme and Ademir da Guia). Oberdan Cattani will join the quartet in the close future. By the look of it, we’ll indeed have a very life-like copy on display.

On Tuesday, six consiglieri were elected into Palmeiras’ Deliberative Council – for life. Each and every one of perpetual counsellors represent a step back in terms of modernisation of the club’s archaic and faulty political/administrative structure. Hopefully, this was a last thrust by the regressive forces before the statuary changes due in 2014.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

 

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Tijuana_Palmeiras_Foto_Ferreira_LANCEPress_LANIMA20130501_0014_26_765356629.
São Paulo Cup elimination through a penalty shootout against Santos. 17h of traveling. Artificial grass. Strong opponent. Palmeiras returned home with a not great but certainly good result against Tijuana, now needing a simple victory in the return game to qualify for the quarter-finals in the Libertadores Cup. With no other duties but training and resting in the two weeks to follow – and with the possible return of some players from the medical department, for example Patrick Vieira – expectations are high. The Pacaumbu stadium will be sold out, no doubt about it.

Against Tijuana, Palmeiras were again more heart than anything else, combined with the tactical obedience from previous Libertadores games. The relatively weak performances we’ve seen in away games did not repeat this time. Special mentioning to Bruno – magnificent between the posts – and Vinícius – working hard and always available on the left flank, keeping Tijuana’s defence busy.

 — ooo —

Serginho_Palmeiras_Clayton_de_Souza_Estadao_260413_292Last week, playmaker Serginho joined the squad. The 22-year-old was defending Oeste as of late, but spent his formative years at Santos with no other than Neymar and Paulo Henrique Ganso. Very eager, he caused a good impression when officially presented, pleased to once again be part of a big team. Serginho has been included in the Libertadores squad and can be used as playmaker or even a forward. He comes on loan until end of May 2014.

Palmeiras are studying other reinforcements, but as cash continues scarce, preference is given to options that include player swaps: Vasco players might be involved and, possibly, Maikon Leite from our side.

 — ooo —

This Saturday, club members gather in a General Assembly to take a vote on the 15% filter, as unanimously proposed by the DC. If the proposal is ratified, the Direct Vote is securely implemented already as of coming election. The filter is not ideal (no filter should be necessary, imho), but the most important right now is securing the direct vote. Thus, Anything Palmeiras endorse the “yes” vote on this one.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Yesterday night, Palmeiras’ Deliberative Council formally welcomed the 76 new council members elected at the beginning of February. With their mandates running until early 2017, the new batch joins the 76 conseglieri who are half-way through their four-year mandate, in addition to the roughly 130 members appointed for life.

The highlight of the evening consisted of the elections of president and vice-president of the Council, the outcome being of the outmost importance: the president of the CD has the power to advance or – as we saw during most part of former president Vergamini’s time in office – block important issues, including the statuary changes proposed by Palmeiras’ president Nobre during his election campaign.

As it happens, Nobre’s candidate of choice won the elections by a rather comfortable margin:  lawyer Antônio Augusto Pompeu de Toledo received 137 votes, with young and coming Tarso Gouveia landing as the runner up with 76 votes while Eugenio Reynaldo Palazzi trailed behind with 20. The vice-president race was a bit tighter, with Elio Esteves coming in at 116, Guilherme Gomes Pereira at 87 and Vittorio Alessandro Pescolido at 40.

According to a Brazilian saying, President Nobre finds himself with “the knife and cheese in his hands”, the political landscape by all means seaming favourable to his intentions to promote the profound changes envisioned by progressive forces: separate the social club from all football activities, making them two distinct and self-sustaining units; gradually diminish the political influence of the for-life-appointed counsellors; and have supporters participate more actively and in larger numbers in the political life of Palmeiras, turning the elections more transparent and democratic.

Some see a diabolic scheme lurking in the shadows, orchestrated by former president Mustafá Contursi, who de facto voted in favour of both Nobre and de Toledo. “Contursi has won, Contursi is back!” That sounds, quite frankly, rather insane. In my view, Contursi sided with Nobre – who politically represents everything Contursi is not – because there were simply no other options. By “siding” with the winner, the ego boost is there, albeit small. Insignificant. As I’m certain time will show.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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charles+oliveiraAfter two weeks of getting familiarised with the grim reality, Nobre and Co. are starting to take affirmative action also “where it counts”, as certainly a majority of supporters would feel: by strengthening the squad. With few options on the market, the swapping of Luan for two players from Cruzeiro is good news: defensive midfielders Charles (#28) and Marcelo Oliveira (#26) might not be stars, but neither is Luan, whos relation to Palmeiras’ supporters in addition had turned unsustainable. Both team are thus embarking on an experiment, with nothing to lose, as all contracts are based on loans until the end of the year. We are likely to see Marcelo Oliveira debuting already tomorrow against Atlético Sorocaba.

RonnyA third player – Ronieri “Ronny” da Silva Pinto, here pictured in the forefront – has been training with the squad for a week in the absence of a document from Europe, clearing him for play at Palmeiras. The playmaker was with Figueirense last season but in fact belongs to Estonian club FC Olimpi. Today, the document arrived, authorising the 21-year-old from Cuiabá to sign a contract for the remainder of 2013. Ronny is the bench option for Valdivia, but might actually be given a lot of play time considering the Chilean’s uncanny ability to get injured. Valdivia IS in fact injured: a muscular problem was detected after last Sunday’s 3-3 draw against XV de Piracicaba, taking him off the pitch for roughly two weeks (thus most likely removing him from Palmeiras’ first game in this year’s edition of the Copa Libertadores, against Peruvian Sporting Cristal).

KleberIn addition to the above, all seems ready for the announcement of Kleber. The 22-year-old Porto striker today passed medical exams and should tomorrow sign a one-year contract with the Verdão. A player of calibre, he should within a week or two stand ready to claim his spot in the staring eleven alongside Barcos.

Brunoro has clearly been a busy bee. Considering the limited options and the negative cash flow situation, he’s indeed doing very well so far. The expectation is for him to pull out another card or two from his sleeve before the first deadline to enter players for the Libertadores Cup.

 — ooo —

Academia_StoreTomorrow, the new line of official Palmeiras stores – the Academia Store – open up their doors for the public. The joint Palmeiras/Meltex venture – initially on a sex-year contract – foresees a total of 100 stores throughout Brazil, the first one placed on Augusta Street in São Paulo. Yesterday, an inauguration cocktail was held in the 250 square meter establishment in the presence of many Palmeiras dignitaries, including president Nobre and São Marcos. The store looks mighty fine if you ask me.

— ooo —

Last but not least, renovation also in the Deliberative Council as Palmeiras’ members last Saturday voted in 76 new conseglieri for a four-year term. The DC consists of 300 counsellors: 148 appointed for life and another 152 elected, of which half are swapped every two years. Slowly but surely, new blood is entering Palmeiras.

A few days back the DC gathered and decided unanimously to propose a 15% filter on presidential candidates as of 2014. The proposal will be brought to the vote in an extraordinary General Assembly, date to be confirmed, and is considered approved if receiving 50% +1 of the total number of votes.

One important decision still lurks in the near future: the election of the new chairman/president of the Deliberative Council, to be held in March. With powers to accelerate or seriously cripple (vide Vergamini) the urgent statuary changes envisioned by Nobre and the progressive forces within Palmeiras, succeeding in placing the “right man” in front of the DC is crucial. Stay tuned for further developments.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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fila_eleicao 04 - pics by Nilton Della Croce_croppedWithin 36 hours, members of the Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras will start lining up to cast their votes in the club’s General Assembly. An unusually large number of proposals, a total of ten, will be put to the vote. All proposals are statuary changes relating to the Direct Vote for President as approved by the club’s Deliberative Council at the end of last year. In order for the General Assembly to be valid, at least 10% of members with voting rights need to show up on Saturday, which translates to some 1.000 individuals. The voting procedure is done through the use of electronic voting stations, just like in Brazil’s national elections, and takes place in the Palmeiras Club House on Rua Turiaçu no. 1840.

Eight out of ten proposals can be ratified by a simple majority of ticks in the “I agree” box. These proposals include the approval of the Direct Vote (to be implemented as of the November 2014 election), the necessity for presidential candidates to form an election platform that includes their vice-presidents, the obligation of presidential candidates to present a Plan of Governance and the obligation of sitting directors to provide for a smooth transition between mandates.

There are however two items that divided the Deliberative Council last year, and where the General Assembly is faced with multiple choices. These proposals need a 2/3 majority in order to go through. They are: a) does any given presidential candidate need four or eight years as member of the Deliberative Council to be eligible? and b) must any given presidential candidate have the approval of 15% or 20% of members of the Deliberative Council – the so called “filter” – in order to validate his candidacy?

The first question not so much, but the second – relating to the filter – holds all the potential of havoc. Most members reject completely the idea of the filter, but there is no consensus on what would happen – legally speaking – if none of the two proposed filters but instead the “I do not agree” option receives 2/3 of the votes. Many are interpreting the “I do not agree” option as a vote for a zero filter, but that would be incorrect: theoretically an “I do not agree” vote could as easily mean “I want a 50% filter” or whatever. It’s probably safest to assume that if none of the filter options receive 2/3 of the votes or even if the proposal is rejected by a 2/3 majority, the matter will be returned to the Deliberative Council for further handling. Which in turn could jeopardize the whole implementation of the Direct Vote.

The president of the Deliberative Council, Mr Vergamini, has been formally requested to clarify the issue, but has so far failed to provide an answer. Judging by previous experiences, I’d say no answer is to be expected in time to illuminated voters. We’re in the dark here.

My reading is that it would be best to minimize damage and agree to the lower filter for now: there will be plenty of time to address and correct this issue at future General Assemblies. For now, the implementation of the Direct Vote, although not as direct as one could have wished for, nevertheless continues to be a tremendous step in the right direction of bringing democracy and transparency to Palmeiras. If you are a frequent visitor of Anything Palmeiras, you will certainly remember how much struggle it took to push through the reform in the Deliberative Council (refresh your memory here, here and here). We’re talking years.

The Direct Vote is a tremendous blow to the current way of doing politics at Palmeiras, where a president in order to be elected needs to sell his soul to a majority of roughly 300 consiglieri – of which half are appointed for life and God knows how many doesn’t give a rat’s ass about football or any sport for that matter – with voting power to chose president. Under the New Order, the president will instead be elected by the members of S.E. Palmeiras and be held accountable to them. A substantial shift in the balance of power, from the Deliberative Council to the Members. It’s not worth risking that by pursuing the zero filter in uncertain judicial terrain.

In the unlikely case of any late clarifications being made public by Mr Vergamini, you will hear about it on this space.

Palmeirenses members of Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, do your duty and go vote on Saturday! Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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